Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 2, 2006 / 2 Adar, 5766

Our goal shouldn't be to be liked

By Victor Davis Hanson


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When the golden dome of the Askariya shrine, a holy Shiite site in Iraq, was blown up last week, enraged militias did not attack American bases but rather went after Sunni extremists who, they privately believed, were the real culprits.


How could that have been when clerics loudly railed to the cameras that the United States was the perpetrator?


Meanwhile, Hamas, despite its hatred of the U.S. and unabashed pride in its terrorist suicide bombers, suddenly seeks victim status when Washington plans to cut Palestinian financial assistance. If America is so terrible, why would Hamas want its tainted money?


On any given day, the state-run media of the Middle East publish vile anti-Semitism and various slanders against the West. With such an unapologetic assault on Western values, why then would thousands riot when an obscure Danish publication runs a few tasteless cartoons caricaturing Islamic radicalism? And why would Western crassness be surprising to radical Muslims anyway, given their constant harangue that we are decadent and should be shunned?


One answer to these paradoxes is that though scorn of the United States may be a public sport, most abroad privately value American financial support — thus acknowledging the often positive global role the United States plays.


The honor-bound Middle East's leadership is obsessed with the West in general, and the United States in particular. It desperately seeks our undivided attention, and yet resents deeply that this very desire reflects either dependence or hidden admiration.


So Shiite clerics know that the United States freed them from Saddam Hussein, sponsored democracy and has offended most of the Sunni Middle East in supporting the Shiite right to self-representation. Yet gratitude to the infidel cannot be altogether pleasant for a once-proud but recently demoralized people.


Hamas leaders desperately want a U.S. secretary of state to sanction their government and give them a status they routinely deride. Likewise, Middle Eastern media outlets practice a particular behavior for themselves while insisting on quite another one for others — expecting, like troubled teenagers, to be offensive and touchy at the same time.


There are other explanations for this apparent asymmetry that transcends the usual alternating of envy and hostility toward the more powerful and influential.


The Middle East has grasped that its oil warps our own morality and makes us put up with such psychological puerility. Autocratic regimes that often subsidize jihadists claim they fight them in an attempt to win American attention — in the manner that odious right-wing dictatorships used to assure us that they were our friends because they were at least staunchly anti-communist.


But there is another rarely discussed reason that a two-faced Middle East feels it can be both savagely critical and needy of the U.S. We idealistic American people are ourselves also hypersensitive, but in a different way: We want to be liked at all costs.


Castigate an average American overseas for his support of democratic Israel and he will often apologize rather than cite America's aid to Jordan, the Palestinian Authority or Egypt — much less the liberation of Kuwait, feeding of Somalia and saving of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.


We can see this strange psychological American need in the old conundrum over whether the United States is "hated." Rarely do we specify "detested by whom"? The theocracy in Iran? The fundamentalist Wahhabis in the Gulf? Hamas terrorists? Sheiks who pump oil for $5 a barrel and sell it for $60?


Perhaps decades of well-meant multiculturalism have made us forget that all cultures, sadly, are not equal — and how rare Western liberality and tolerance are, both in the past and present.


To remedy such anxiety, we need not advance American exceptionalism as chauvinism. Nor do we need to gratuitously remind theocracies, dictatorships, communist states and autocracies how cruel and corrupt they are to their own.


But still, Americans should develop a greater confidence to accept that we are not liked abroad in large part for good reasons — having had to so often fight those who wished to destroy our liberalism, from Hitler and Mussolini to Saddam and bin Laden.


In the case of Iraq, America ended a murderous regime, took no oil, gave billions of dollars in aid and plans to leave as soon as a democracy can replace a dethroned dictatorship. While that apparently makes us loathed by many in the Middle East, it is nothing we should or will apologize for.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


Archives

© 2006, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles